Seattle has long been ranked among America’s best cities for singles. The views are stunning, the weather mild, the music scene thriving, the unemployment rate low. Thanks to its coffee connoisseurs, outdoorsy types, and music lovers, Forbes recently named the city the second-best place for single ladies to find love in the country. If you’re stumped when planning a date in the Emerald City — coffee dates might be too obvious — consider the following great date ideas:
With its moderate climate, plentiful trails and gorgeous views, exploring the great outdoors should be at the top of your to-do list. Stroll through one of the city’s many farmers’ markets then cook dinner together. Take an hour-long stroll around Green Lake, or bike Burke-Gilman Trail and end with a picnic at Gas Works Park. Check out the Japanese Garden at Washington Park Arboretum. Watch the sunset from Kerry Park. Take a ferry to Bainbridge Island, then grab an ice cream cone at Mora Iced Creamery before touring the area by bike or on foot.
The list of parks, hiking trails and beaches is seemingly endless. Just be sure to pack an umbrella during rainy season — or have an inclement-weather backup plan.
If you’ve asked out a fitness buff — Men’s Fitness recently listed Seattle among America’s fittest cities — why not plan a date that will get hearts pumping? Rent kayaks or a paddle boat and spend the afternoon on Lake Washington. Race to the top at the REI climbing wall. Choose between roller skating and bowling at Lynnwood Bowl and Skate. Skate indoors year-round at Highland Ice Arena. When temperatures drop, head outside to the super-popular Winterfest Ice Rink. (It gets crowded, so be sure to hold hands!) If you’d rather watch other people be active, cheer on the Mariners or Seahawks together.
Not “high” in the legally-unadvisable sense, just in terms of altitude. Take the mile-long Monorail ride to the Space Needle where the observation deck offers stunning 360-degree views of the city. If your wallet won’t allow for dining at the Space Needle’s SkyCity restaurant, consider one of Seattle’s many rooftop patios as an equally romantic but considerably more thrifty date option. For a bit of city history, head to Smith Tower, Seattle’s oldest skyscraper, and check out the Chinese Room’s wraparound observation deck on the 35th floor.
Seattle has a rich independent music scene. Find out what your date’s into and plan a perfect night around a jazz club or grunge bar — or visit the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center, a museum that celebrates of the history of music and showcases rare artifacts and memorabilia. The Seattle Art Museum has a number of adult public programs, including a quarterly “Remix” event and monthly jazz night. The city is home to countless theatrical production companies. Check out musical theatre at the gorgeous Paramount Theater, or take a chance on a fringe show.
In the summer months, plan a lunch date and take in a free Out to Lunch concert in Downtown Seattle. Or dance the night away under the stars in a Seattle park as part of the annual Dance ‘Til Dusk program.
Other “cultured” date ideas: an exhibit opening at Henry Art Gallery, the Seattle Poetry Festival, the Museum of History and Industry, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Opera, or an improv show.
Be a Tourist
Dating gives you permission to explore the more touristy attractions city natives rarely visit. Take the Pike Place Market’s famous walking Ghost Tour. Tour the city by land and sea on the hard-to-miss amphibious Ride the Ducks tour. History buffs should see the city from beneath its sidewalks together on the subterranean Seattle Underground Tour.
Be a Kid Again
Dates can be awkward. Why not just play together? Be kids again on the Great Wheel on the waterfront — beware if you’re scared of heights — or spend the day at Seattle’s Children’s Museum. If you’re both comfortable in swimwear, the Giant Tube Slide at Colman Pool, the city’s only saltwater pool open to the public, is sure to bring out your inner cannonball-loving kid.
Go Back to the Future
Everything old is new again. Watch ‘80s flicks at Central Cinema, a retro theater that offers full menu service to hungry movie-goers. Or go back in time and watch moving pictures on Cinerama at Cinerama Cinema, one of only three theaters in the country capable of still showing the classic three-panel films.
Go for a drink at the prohibition-themed speakeasy Knee High Stocking Company, or get transported to early-20th-century Paris at Can Can, a hot Seattle nightspot, where you’ll sip on fancy cocktails as you take in a cabaret show.
If you really want to sweep your date off her feet, make reservations at Canlis, arguably Seattle’s finest (and most romantic) restaurant, where you’ll enjoy 180-degree views of Lake Union, Cascade Mountains and the city.
(Keep the evening a little more casual and budget-friendly by just stopping by for drinks at the bar.)
Another swoon-worthy culinary destination: El Gaucho.